Saturday, May 08, 2010

Good-bye, sweet Dorothy

I am sad. My Dorothy died suddenly Thursday afternoon. She cried out, yelping in pain, making a sound I'd never heard her make before. It could not have taken me more than thirty seconds to run down the stairs to where she had been napping. "Dorothy? What's wrong? Dorothy!" I cried, as though she could answer.

I lay by her side, tears running down my face. I put my arms around her. She had gone quiet. She looked up at me, but her eyes were glazing over.

And then she was gone. She was simply . . . gone.

For fifteen minutes, my husband tried to revive her. "No, oh, no," he kept repeating. "Dorothy, don't do this. Dorothy stay with us . . ."

He pounded on her chest, breathed into her nose, but . . . it was no use. She had gone. We held her, then we held each other . . . and cried.

Her thick fur was warm, and stayed warm a long long time, all the way to the vet's. There, I hugged her and I cried, knowing we would part there, and my husband and I would go home alone. Something had ruptured inside her healthy body and it had taken her away in a matter of heartbeats.

She had been fine all day. Just fine. No hint of what was to come. At least I was at home. At least I was by her side. At least I got to stroke her silky soft ears and murmur to her how much I loved her, and what a great dog she was. I hope she heard me; I fear she did not.

Dorothy was a German Shepherd/Black Lab mix, and an independent soul. She was not terribly old, somewhere between nine and ten. She'd been a rescue dog eight years earlier when we brought home, so very thin and wary. But in time, she came to accept us as her pack.

Dorothy loved rides in the car, trips to the neighborhood park, and chicken. Boy, did she love chicken. I'm happy that her last meal was a few bites of the chicken I had at lunch that day.

Dorothy was special in so many ways. After my ex-husband moved out and my older daughter was off to college, the house was empty - except for my younger daughter and me . . . and Dorothy. Her fur was thick, and I would hug her and listen to her heartbeat and she would sleep on the bed next to me, and I didn't feel so alone. She was a bit matronly, sweet-natured, a canine confidant.

When I remarried four years later, she bonded with my new husband and they became inseparable. She became not just my dog, but "our" dog.

We are going to sprinkle Dorothy's ashes at her very favorite place -the park where she loved to run, roll in the grass, and smell each and every bush. When nobody was around, we would let her off the leash, and I'd yell, "Go, Dorothy, go!" and she'd take off running along the path, her ears flopping, her tongue lolling, her tail sweeping. So happy. So very very happy. Dogs require very few things to be happy, and running up the pathway at the park was one of Dorothy's greatest delights. We knew because of the smile on her face.

I'll have another dog, but there will never be another Dorothy. I will forever picture her curled up sleeping at the bottom of the stairs - where she died. I will forever feel her weight on my feet as I read a book in bed in the evening before bedtime. I will forever sense her presence in my heart.

And when we go to the dog park and walk up along the path where she used to run, and when the autumn breezes rustle the leaves on the trees and bushes she used to pass, I'll envision her there, and whisper softly, "Go, Dorothy, go . . ." and try real hard to smile through my tears.



At 8:46 PM , Blogger Blythe said...

Marianne, I am so sorry. It's so hard to lose a beloved pet.

At 10:43 PM , Blogger Marianne said...

Thank you, Blythe. I was lucky to have her; I hope she felt lucky to have us.


At 11:33 PM , Blogger Brandy said...

I'm crying reading your post. I am so very sorry for your loss of your beloved pet. It's so hard when they leave us. Prayers and condolences.

At 7:57 AM , Blogger Marianne said...

Thank you, Brandy. I very much appreciate your kind remarks.


At 7:38 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Marianne, it was so sad to read about Dorothy.It is so hard to loose a pet or should i say a member of the family.I really enjoyed sharing stories with you today and didnt think i would cry when i read about dorothy today. but i did. I had my husband read your blog too. and we were both so sad for you and your husband. I think we can all relate loosing special pet/family member. thanks for sharing.

Paula h.
valley dental group

At 9:59 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, Marianne, it's your old pal Nora from North Caolina. I just happened to google your name today and discovered your blog. I remeber when you first got Dorothy, and I can't tell you how very sad I am to hear that she's gone. I hope your memories of her will bring you some comfort. I'd love to catch up with you; if you still have it I'm at the same address and phone number. Best wishes and hugs to you and yours.

At 6:49 AM , Blogger Marianne said...


Thank you so much. You are so sweet. We scattered Dorothy's ashes at the park Tuesday afternoon, so we have closure now. I really appreciate your kind words, and I very much enjoyed sharing stories with you, too. Take care . . .


At 6:51 AM , Blogger Marianne said...

NORA!!!! Where in the heck have you been? I've tried emailing you several times over the last few years, but the kept bouncing. Yes, I'm pretty sure I still have your old address and phone. If I don't reach you in the next few days, email me at with your current email address and/or phone! I'm looking forward to catching up with you, my dear!


At 8:11 AM , Blogger sharon said...

Marianne,I know the soul connection some animals have on you. I am so sorry for your loss. Todd, my beagle boy, i had 14 years ,developed diabetes in his last 2 years. Gave him shots. made his food,special vitamins, big vet bills. I love and miss him. He looked in your eyes and your soul. He went blind a year before he died, but I think he still saw me. They will never be another todd. He knew you loved him,that love only you could give.Darleen, nita always knew how much I love animals.

At 9:36 AM , Blogger Marianne said...

Thank you, Sharon. I very much appreciate your kind words. Dorothy was very special to us and we'll always miss her.

Take care . . .

At 3:29 PM , Anonymous cindy said...

Marianne, Just found your blog. You wrote about Dorothy the way many of us wish we could about pets who have died.

I like to picture them hanging out in Heaven, restored to their prime, doing whatever they love best. Of course, they are still with us, whenever we need the joy, warmth and particular quirkiness that identified them.

She would get a kick out of helping you "break in" or "acclimatize" an addition to your family.

Good luck to you!

At 4:44 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

so sorry..I'm crying just reading the post. When I saw the picture I thought 'that looks like Sasha' (my german shepherd. I also have a black lab and both are almost 10(Jan and Mar) and I dread the day I lose them though I pray it's quick and painless for them partly because I so dread having to make a decision. Iknow chicken of me but it's true. They've been the best dogs ever and I'm sure I'll have more dogs but they'll never be replaced.


At 4:21 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

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At 2:14 PM , Blogger desitheblonde said...

hon get a plague for the garden
or the front of your house with her name on it and you have her in your hear all the time i did and went and got a little dog and cat for my pet who died

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